Michel Franceschi & Ben Weider. The Wars Against Napoleon: Debunking the Myth of the Napoleonic Wars. Savas Beatie, published by Savas Beatie, distributed by Casemate Pub. Jan. 2008.

c. 248p. illus. maps. index. ISBN 978-1932714-37-1. $32.95. HIST

According to these authors, it is a myth of the Napoleonic wars that Napoléon was a megalomaniacal conqueror who bled Europe dry in order to satisfy his insatiable love for war. Certainly, such is the most widely printed and accepted description of Napoléon's motive. After all, history is written by the victors. In this book, however, retired French general Franceschi and Weider (coauthor with Sten Forshufvud, Assassination at St. Helena Revisited) present a compelling revisionist portrait of Napoléon as fundamentally pacifist. They base this on three sound themes: first, that the European monarchies were thoroughly opposed to the continuance of revolutionary France; second, that Napoléon made constant determined efforts to avoid the inevitable conflicts; and third, that Napoléon never declared war, as he himself stated in exile on St. Helena. In each of these areas the authors argue strongly, persuasively, and intellectually for what is, essentially, the other side of the usual story.

They will surely provoke debate within the historical community wherever there is interest in this period. Recommended for all libraries adding to their Napoleonic collections. (Illustrations not seen.)-

David Lee Poremba, Keiser Univ., Orlando, FL


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